Give Them a Hand
Salvation Army looking for owner of wedding ring left in kettle
Saturday, February 02, 2013 4:00 AM
A few passersby may have put in more than their usual contributions toward the local Salvation Army's Christmas fundraiser last year.
The Madison Salvation Army exceeded its goal of $116,000 by collecting more than $118,000 in donations, about $52,000 of which came from the kettle contributions.
Found in the stacks of change, Salvation Army Corps Officer Lt. Matt Phelps said the nonprofit discovered some oddities - including a few pieces of jewelry and even a man's wedding ring.
The gold-band ring was discovered in a donation bucket around the middle of the campaign, which stretched from Nov. 9 to Christmas Day. It has the inscription "Heather & John, Dec. 27, 1964."
Phelps said he can only assume the ring was left by mistake and that he is holding the piece in case he hears from its owner.
"I know someone is looking for it," he said.
The piece was the third ring the Salvation Army found in its kettles this year, Phelps added. One piece has been returned, but the organization is holding the wedding ring and another ring as well.
The odd assortment of what appear to be mistaken donations is not a rarity, Phelps said.
"I get all sorts of things that end up in the kettles. We've had everything, including AA or sobriety coins...Chuck E. Cheese tokens, foreign currency," he said. "I get all kinds of variety."
Early in the giving season, someone contributed what looked like a rare Liberty Head Large Cent. Madison company London Starr Metals later determined that the coin was a modern replica and donated a coin worth $400 in its place.
The strange variety of donated items aside, Phelps said the local Salvation Army hit a milestone this year for donations. He estimated that the more than $118,000 raised was a record for the local chapter.
The organization cleared more than $117,900 for its 2011 fundraiser. The money collected during the annual drive helps fund the organization's food pantry and meal program, as well as social service and emergency disaster services in the community.
"I'm very pleased by the response from the community, and very thankful," he said.
Anyone with information regarding the jewelry is asked to call Phelps at the Salvation Army at (812) 265-2157.
2012 Christmas Campaign
Christmas Mail Appeal: $24,259
Christmas White Mail: $23,869.31
Christmas Memorial: $330
Christmas Thank You: $440
Thornton Terrace: $1,455.75
Christmas Rotary: $1,625
Christmas Service Clubs: $1,550
Christmas Advisory Board: $10,200
Christmas Online/Phone Card: $400
Counter Kettles: $1,473.05
Kettle Income: $52,776.56